Japanese cuisine seems to be the ‘It’ cuisine of the recent few years with many new Japanese restaurants, sushi bars popping up in the city. Megu, however, has always stood tall as the finest Japanese restaurant in town and the new winter menu showcases why.
The meal began with a trio of appetisers – Hokkaido king crab, Nanohana and Tokyo iri hijiki and inati. The king crab was spectacular, more so as the meat was just steamed (to perfection) but the flavour and complexity came from the bursts of the soy ikura – what a heavenly combination. The Nanohana was something I was trying for the first time and it was a triumph – wonderfully pungent rapeseed plant in veg stock, very rustic and comforting. My favourite though was hijiki salad in white sesame sauce as I loved the delightful textures in the dish.
The sushi and sashimi platter was what I was eagerly waiting for and I was not disappointed. Everything was so fresh that you could literally smell the ocean of it. A wonderful and novel addition to the platter was the avocado and soy sauce, bringing an extra layer of creaminess to each bite.
Though the entire platter was slurp-worthy, a couple of them stood out for me – sweet peony shrimp and the Japanese sea bream. The seabream, in particular, was brilliant in combination with the salty Sevruga caviar. It was the finest Sashimi I have had. The peony shrimp was delectable on its own but then I was suggested I have the prawn head fried and wow was that a good tip. The crunchy prawn head took the sushi to a different league.
Next came the Zoni soup, which we were informed was the soup of the warriors. The dashi broth is one of the culinary cornerstones of Japanese cooking as it adds a wonderful savoury note to the dishes. The dashi used here was milder but the yuzu perked up the soup beautifully; along with the perfectly braised duck, it was a like a warm hug on a cold day.
The main course was two perfectly cooked fish – Chilean Seabass and Black Cod. Both were so distinct from one another, highlighting the depth and variety in Japanese cooking.
The Seabass was exceptionally well cooked, flaky and moist. Together with the soy-mirin glaze, pickled ginger and daikon accompaniments, each morsel was divine.
The black cod was a more complex dish and had flavours that were new to me. The dashi broth was used here again but was so different in flavour than used previously, much deeper and ocean-y in flavour (due to the addition of wakame among other things), the whole combination was glorious.
Desserts are what I crave most in a meal and the petit fours platter was spectacular. The entire meal up to this point was full of classic flavours but the dessert platter was where the chefs had a lot more fun. Each element was to die for and the raspberry wasabi cheesecake was the best use of wasabi I have seen in a dessert (and there have been many). The yuzu lemon tart and matcha macarons were the other standouts.
The entire winter menu at Megu was a combination of known and unknown flavours and I quickly realised that a meal here is also an education into the flavours and breadth of Japanese cooking.
Some restaurants, like the best single malts, need to be savoured and experienced. They stand alone for their sophistication, peerless quality and lingering taste. Megu is that single malt.